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  • Backcountry Essentials

Black Diamond Compactor Poles

I was recently in the market for a new pair of collapsible poles. The pair I was replacing was the Voile touring poles. They had a scraper on the end of one of the pole handles to scrape the snow off your top sheet when you are touring.  I really liked that feature.  Spring snow makes your skis really heavy in the cascades when it’s on your top sheets, and to be able to scrap it off so easily was nice, but poles only last so long.  I had to get new ones.


What attracted me to the Black Diamond Compactors was a number of features. The first was the compact and short length.  I am a splitboarder and I often put my poles in my pack to take a run. These poles fit even in my smaller BCA stash pack with all my other avy gear, water, and an extra layer. The second feature I really like about the poles was the quickdraw feature which Black Diamond calls their ‘z-pole technology’. They extend much like an avalanche probe does, really quickly and really easily. They use a shock cord system with a plastic connector/protector to lock the poles into extended position. The poles extend smoothly which I was not expecting and I have yet to have any trouble with them. The third feature that drew me to buy these poles was the new and improved flicklock mechanism by Black Diamond—which secures the poles in place at whatever height you adjust them to. It is easy to use with gloves and is more durable than the previous plastic flicklock.  The only disadvantage I see so far is what happens when they are in your pack. They can potentially scratch extra googles in your pack (I always have an extra pair just in case), punch holes in your pack, or pop your one of your touring brews—always a bummer, but never a day ender.


The Compactor poles have been a great pole for me so far, they weigh only 640 grams per pair, easy to use with gloves on, and surprisingly rigid for a 3 part corded style pole.  They adjust from 115 to 135cm which is well within most peoples pole ranges. In my opinion Black Diamond did a great job with this pole.



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